The US government is expected to join a lawsuit against former cyclist Lance Armstrong after talks with his lawyers broke down.
The suit argues Lance Armstrong defrauded the American public by insisting he was not using drugs while riding for the publicly funded US Postal Service team.
Last month, Lance Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins.
The suit, filed by his former team-mate Floyd Landis, aims to recover sponsorship money from Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong’s legal team had tried to convince the US government not to join the so-called “whistleblowing” lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis, who himself admitted using drugs throughout his career.
But a statement by Lance Armstrong’s counsel Robert Luskin said: “Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged.
“The Postal Services’s own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship – benefits totalling more than $100 million.”
NBC News and the Wall Street Journal are both reporting the US government will now throw its weight behind the suit.
By flagging up allegations of fraud, Floyd Landis could receive a substantial share of any money recovered from Lance Armstrong under the federal False Claims Act.The law, introduced by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, stipulates the person bringing the lawsuit can receive 15-25% of any damages.
The US government is expected to join a lawsuit against Lance Armstrong after talks with his lawyers broke down
Lance Armstrong, 41, ended years of denial in January during an interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey in which he described doping as part of the process of winning the Tour.
He has since said he will not agree to be interviewed under oath by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Lance Armstrong was charged by USADA in June 2012 with using performance-enhancing drugs.
He filed a lawsuit against the organisation the following month, accusing it of “corrupt inducements” to other cyclists to testify against him.
However, Lance Armstrong then announced in August that he would not fight the doping charges filed against him, and was given a life ban by USADA and stripped of his Tour de France titles.
Lance Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005. The US Postal Service sponsored the team between 1996 and 2004.
Former cyclist Lance Armstrong has said he will not agree to be interviewed under oath by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA).
Lance Armstrong, 41, admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs during his seven of his Tour de France wins in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
By speaking to USADA, Lance Armstrong would have been eligible to have a lifetime ban overturned.
But a statement said the former cyclist “will not participate in prosecutions… that only demonize selected individuals”.
Lance Armstrong was initially given until February 6 to meet USADA officials but was allowed a further two weeks to decide whether to be interviewed.
His statement, released by his attorney Tim Herman, said he is willing to help with the investigation but will not be interviewed by USADA.
It added: “Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear: He will be the first man through the door, and once inside will answer every question, at an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport.
“We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that result.
“In the meantime, for several reasons, Lance will not participate in USADA’s efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95% of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction.”
Lance Armstrong has said he will not agree to be interviewed under oath by the USADA
Lance Armstrong was charged by USADA in June 2012 with using performance-enhancing drugs.
He filed a lawsuit against the organisation the following month, accusing them of “corrupt inducements” to other cyclists to testify against him.
However, Lance Armstrong then announced in August that he would not fight the doping charges filed against him, and was given a life ban by USADA and stripped of his Tour de France titles.
The findings were accepted by the International Cycling Union.
Lance Armstrong, who retired from cycling in 2005 but returned to the sport between 2009 and 2012, has called for a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ overseen by the World Anti-Doping Agency to look into the issue of doping in the sport.
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes has gone on trial accused of running one of the world’s largest sports doping rings.
Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes’s trial in Madrid comes nearly seven years after police raided his offices and seized some 200 bags of blood which were linked to a number of top cyclists.
Dozens of cyclists have been called to testify as witnesses in the trial.
Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, his sister and three former cycling coaches are charged with breaking public health laws.
They could not be charged with doping-related crimes because Spain had no anti-doping law at the time of their arrest.
Prosecutors must prove that the defendants’ actions put the lives of the athletes at risk – something the defence is expected to deny.
The case comes days after former seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using banned drugs and blood doping during his cycling career.
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes has gone on trial accused of running one of the world’s largest sports doping rings
Spanish police carried out a series of raids on offices, laboratories and flats in Madrid, Zaragoza and El Escorial in May 2006 as part of an investigation known as Operation Puerto.
They found around 200 bags of blood or frozen plasma with labels that were believed to be code-names for Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes’s clients – athletes who were allegedly benefiting from a highly-sophisticated doping programme.
Dozens of cyclists were allegedly implicated in the scandal, including former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who is expected to give evidence in the trial.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has said that it was told, at the time of the raids, that the bags of blood also related to athletes from several sports, including football and tennis.
But the trial will focus only on cyclists who, according to the chief prosecutor in the case, are the only athletes that could be identified from the bags of blood seized.
The trial is expected to last until mid-March.
If found guilty, the defendants could face up to two years in prison and a two-year professional ban.
Texan insurance company SCA Promotions plans to file a lawsuit next week to recoup $12 million from disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
SCA Promotions insured bonuses paid to Lance Armstrong when he claimed his fourth, fifth and sixth Tour de France wins.
Lance Armstrong has admitted using performance-enhancing drugs for all seven of his Tour de France wins.
“We will likely file that lawsuit as soon as next week unless we get a satisfactory response from Armstrong’s camp,” SCA lawyer Jeff Tillotson said.
The insurance policy was taken out by Tailwind Sports, owner of the US Postal team, to cover performance bonuses payable to Lance Armstrong if he claimed his fourth, fifth and sixth Tour victories.
SCA initially refused to pay out money covering the bonus for Lance Armstrong’s sixth Tour win in 2004, totalling $5 million, because it argued Armstrong was not a clean rider.
SCA Promotions plans to file a lawsuit next week to recoup $12 million from disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong took the company to an arbitration hearing in Dallas in 2005 and won, because the contract between the parties stipulated the insurance money would be payable if Armstrong was the “official winner” of the Tour.
But, after Lance Armstrong’s confession of doping to Oprah Winfrey this week, Jeff Tillotson said his client would be looking to recover the money, now assessed at $12 million because of legal costs and interest.
The Dallas attorney gave his reaction to the Armstrong interview with Winfrey, saying he found it “jaw-dropping” that Lance Armstrong had admitted all the things he denied in the arbitration hearing in 2005.
“Every question in his testimony that he answered no to when I asked him, he answered yes to Oprah Winfrey,” he said.
“So it was pretty clear from the first few minutes of the interview he was admitting that he had committed perjury in our legal proceedings in the US.
“From our perspective we were somewhat floored by how quickly he admitted that.”
Jeff Tillotson said Lance Armstrong was yet to get in touch with him personally, or SCA Promotions.
There have been suggestions that Lance Armstrong could also be charged with perjury for lying under oath in 2005 but Jeff Tillotson admits this is unlikely to happen.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong has questioned during interview with Oprah Winfrey whether he deserves his “death penalty” punishment which means he is banned from all sports because of his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Lance Armstrong compared his lifelong ban to six-month penalties given to others.
In the second part of his interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong, 41, said: “I deserve to be punished. I’m not sure I deserve a death penalty.
“I’d love the opportunity to compete, but that isn’t why I’m doing this.”
The second round of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, 58, was broadcast on prime time television on her OWN network in America, and was streamed worldwide through her website.
In the first part of the interview Lance Armstrong ended years of denials by admitting using performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins.
During part two, in which he fought back tears as he discussed the impact on his family, Lance armstrong revealed:
he wants the life ban in sports lifted but accepts that is unlikely
he feels “disgraced, humbled and ashamed” by his actions
his “most humbling moment” was being asked to step aside by cancer charity Livestrong
the moment he confessed to his son and said: “don’t defend me anymore”
his actions had left his mother a “wreck”
his sponsors leaving him was a “$75 million day”
Of his desire to return to sport, Lance Armstrong said he wasn’t looking to take part in the Tour de France again, but added: “If you’re asking me if I want to compete again, the answer is <<hell yeah, I’m a competitor>>. It’s what I’ve done all my life. I want to race, want to toe the line.
“There are lots of things I can’t do because of the ban. If there is a window of opportunity would I like to run the Chicago Marathon when I’m 50? Yes.
“When you see the punishment… I got a death penalty meaning I can’t compete. I’m not saying that is unfair but it is different.”
Lance Armstrong said he “selfishly” wanted his life ban to be lifted.
“Realistically, I don’t think that will happen and I’ve got to live with that,” he added.
Lance Armstrong started the second part of the interview by telling the US chat show host he felt “disgraced, humbled and ashamed” at his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“Do I have remorse? Absolutely. Will it grow? Absolutely,” he said.
“This is the first step and these are my actions. I am paying the price but I deserve it.
“The ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who support me and believed in me and they got lied to.”
Lance Armstrong said what he had done hit home when his cancer charity Livestrong asked him to step aside last year.
“That was the most humbling moment,” he said.
Lance Armstrong has questioned during interview with Oprah Winfrey whether he deserves being banned from all sports because of his use of performance-enhancing drugs
Lance Armstrong, who launched Livestrong after battling cancer in the mid-1990s, said sponsors started to leave him following the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation last year.
USADA said Lance Armstrong was a “serial cheat” who had led “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”.
He said: “Nike called and said that they’re out. Then the calls started coming.
“A couple of days: everybody out.”
Lance Armstrong described the period in which his sponsors dropped him as a” $75 million dollar day”. “All gone. Probably never coming back,” he said.
“I’ve lost all future income.”
Outlining the build-up to Livestrong’s decision, Lance Armstrong added: “The story was getting out of control which was my worst nightmare. I had this place in my mind they would all leave. The one I didn’t think would leave was the foundation.
“The foundation is like my sixth child and to make that decision and step aside was big.
“I was aware of the pressure and it was the best thing for the organisation but it hurt like hell.”
Lance Armstrong fought back tears as he described the impact of his actions on his five children.
“They know a lot,” he said.
“They hear it in the hallways. Their schools, their classmates have been very supportive. Where you lose control with your kids is when they go out of that space: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, in the feedback columns.
“When this all really started, I saw my son defending me, and saying <<that’s not true>>.
“That’s when I knew I had to tell him. And he’d never asked me. He’d never said <<dad, is this true?>> He’d trusted me.
“I said ‘don’t defend me anymore, don’t’. He has been remarkably calm and mature about it.”
Lance Armstrong said his mother had been left a “wreck” by what had happened but “she is a tough lady and has got through every other moment”.
Despite the fallout from his drugs use, Lance Armstrong said it was not the worst period of his life and pointed to his cancer battle.
“I’ve been to a dark place that was not of my doing where I didn’t know if I would live,” he said.
“You can’t compare this to an advanced diagnosis. That sets the bar. It is close but I’m an optimist and I like to look forward – this has caused me to look back and I don’t like that.
“When I was diagnosed I was better and smarter after that and then lost my way.
“It is easy to sit here and say I feel better but I can’t lose my way again.
“Only I can control it and I’m in no position to make promises but that is the biggest challenge for the rest of my life – not to slip up again and not lose sight of what I have to do. I had it but things got too crazy. Epic challenge.”
In the first part of the interview Lance Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey he was sorry for his “big lie”. He admitted that at the time he viewed his actions as levelling the playing field rather than cheating.
He said he would now co-operate with official inquiries into doping.
In the aftermath of the USADA report the Texan opted not to contest the allegations. Lance Armstrong had always strongly denied doping, but that all changed within seconds of his first appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
Oprah Winfrey has revealed Lance Armstrong “did not come clean in the way I expected” about claims he used performance-enhancing drugs.
The chat host did not go into details of their lengthy interview but said she had been “satisfied” with Lance Armstrong’s answers.
The questions “people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered”, Oprah winfrey told CBS news.
Lance Armstrong, 41, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, has thus far vehemently denied dope allegations.
But rumors have been circulating for some time that Lance Armstrong wants to come clean in order to return to professional sport.
Lance Armstrong was accused last year by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of what it called “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme” the sport had ever seen.
He is now said to be discussing whether to testify against sport officials.
Oprah Winfrey told CBS that the two-and-a-half hour interview in Lance Armstrong’s home town of Austin, Texas, would be broadcast over two nights, starting on Thursday.
She said she had taken 112 questions into her interview with him, most of which she got to ask.
Lance Armstrong was “serious and thoughtful”, had prepared well for the interview, and “met the moment”, she said.
“At the end of it… we both were pretty exhausted. And I would say I was satisfied,” she said.
“I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I expected,” she said in response to a question.
“It was surprising to me. I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.”
“I didn’t get all the questions asked, but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered,” Oprah Winfrey said.
She would leave it to others to decide whether he was contrite, she went on to say.
Oprah Winfrey has revealed Lance Armstrong did not come clean in the way she expected” about claims he used performance-enhancing drugs
Oprah Winfrey told CBS that she had agreed with Lance Armstrong and his team that they would not talk about what had been said until the broadcast, but rumors of a confession quickly began circulating in the US media.
“By the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it. So I’m like – how did you all do that? We all agreed that we weren’t going to say anything,” she said.
“I’m sitting here now because it’s already been confirmed.”
When asked why Lance Armstrong had agreed to the interview, Oprah Winfrey said: “I think he was just ready.”
The interview was recorded just hours after Lance Armstrong apologized to staff at the Livestrong Foundation but stopped short of a full admission of guilt.
Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, lost most of his sponsorships and was forced to leave Livestrong after the damning USADA report.
Admitting doping might be a first step into trying to mitigate his lifetime ban from competition. Lance Armstrong is also said to be planning to testify against powerful individuals in the world of cycling – though not other cyclists – he will claim knew about or facilitated the doping, sources said.
But an admission of guilt would raise legal issues as well as further backlash from the cycling world and cancer community, in which Lance Armstrong is a prominent figure as a cancer survivor.
The New York Times has reported Lance Armstrong’s supporters are concerned he could face perjury charges if he confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs, because he testified in a 2005 court case that he had never done so.
Former teammate Floyd Landis – who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping – has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit accusing Armstrong of defrauding the US Postal Service, which sponsored the team to the tune of more than $30 million.
The US Department of Justice is considering whether to join the lawsuit against him, reports say, and Lance Armstrong’s lawyers are said to be in negotiations to settle the suit.
The UK’s Sunday Times is already suing Lance Armstrong for up to $1.6 million over a libel payment to him in 2004 after the newspaper alleged he had cheated.
And a Texan insurance company is pursuing Lance Armstrong for $11 million over insured performance bonuses paid to the American after he claimed his fourth, fifth and sixth Tour de France victories.
After more than a decade of denying doping claims, cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to help him win seven Tour de France titles, sources revealed Monday evening.
A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press that Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taping with the Queen of Talk, which is slated to air on Thursday, January 17, on her network.
Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year in the wake of a voluminous U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report that portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race.
A group of about 10 close friends and advisers to Lance Armstrong left a downtown Austin hotel about three hours after they arrived Monday afternoon for the taping.
Among them were Lance Armstrong attorneys Tim Herman and Sean Breen, along with Bill Stapleton, Armstrong’s longtime agent, manager and business partner.
All declined comment entering and exiting the session.
Soon afterward, Oprah Winfrey tweeted: “Just wrapped with (at)lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!”
Oprah was scheduled to appear on CBS This Morning on Tuesday to discuss the interview.
In a text to the AP on Saturday, Lance Armstrong said: “I told her [Oprah Winfrey] to go wherever she wants and I’ll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That’s all I can say.”
Lance Armstrong stopped at the Livestrong Foundation, which he founded, on his way to the interview and said, ‘I’m sorry’ to staff members, some of whom broke down in tears.
A person with knowledge of that session said Lance Armstrong choked up and several employees cried during the session.
The person also said Lance Armstrong apologized for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to using banned drugs.
He said he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity’s mission of helping cancer patients and their families.
After more than a decade of denying doping claims, cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to help him win seven Tour de France titles
Rae Bazzarre, a spokeswoman for Livestrong said it was emotional “but we were all glad to see him”.
Lance Armstrong had not been at the headquarters since October 21, Rae Bazzarre said, about two weeks before he resigned from Livestrong’s board of directors.
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart labeled the doping regimen allegedly carried out by the U.S. Postal Service team that Armstrong once led, “The most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
After a federal investigation of the cyclist was dropped without charges being brought last year, USADA stepped in with an investigation of its own.
The agency deposed 11 former teammates and accused Lance Armstrong of masterminding a complex and brazen drug program that included steroids, blood boosters and a range of other performance-enhancers.
The interview with Oprah Winfrey will be Lance Armstrong’s first public response to the USADA report.
Lance Armstrong is not expected to provide a detailed account about his involvement, nor address in depth many of the specific allegations in the more than 1,000-page USADA report.
After he was stripped of his Tour titles, Lance Armstrong defiantly tweeted a picture of himself on a couch at home with all seven of the yellow leader’s jerseys on display in frames behind him.
But the preponderance of evidence in the USADA report and pending legal challenges on several fronts apparently forced him to change tactics, and he still faces legal challenges.
He is planning to testify against several powerful people in the sport of cycling who knew about his doping and possibly facilitated it, said several people with knowledge of the situation, according to The New York Times.
Lance Armstrong is in discussions with the United States Department of Justice to possibly testify in a federal whistle-blower case.
Former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service.
Floyd Landis claimed the team defrauded the government because its riders used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of its sponsorship contract.
The Justice Department has yet to decide whether it will join the suit as a plaintiff.
The London-based Sunday Times also is suing Lance Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit.
On Sunday, the newspaper took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune, offering Oprah Winfrey suggestions for what questions to ask Lance Armstrong.
Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Lance Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring yet another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million an arbitration panel awarded the cyclist in that dispute.
The lawsuit most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times case.
Potential perjury charges stemming from Lance Armstrong’s sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations. Lance Armstrong was not deposed during the federal investigation that was closed last year.
Many of his sponsors dropped Lance Armstrong after the damning USADA report – at the cost of tens of millions of dollars – and soon after, he left the board of the Livestrong cancer-fighting charity he founded in 1997. Lance Armstrong is still said to be worth about $100 million.
Livestrong could be one reason Lance Armstrong has decided to come forward with an apology and limited confession.
The charity supports cancer patients and still faces an image problem because of its association with lance Armstrong.
He may be hoping that his willingness to testify against the cycling union officials and his former team’s officials and his confession will allow him to return to competition in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career.
World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years.
WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what information Lance Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation
He had a meeting last month with USADA officials, and it was reported by The New York Times that people with knowledge of the discussions said the officials would be willing to reduce Lance Armstrong’s punishment if he would testify against the people who helped him dope.
Former US cyclist Lance Armstrong has apologized to the staff at his Livestrong Foundation, amid reports that he may admit doping in a TV interview.
Lance Armstrong made the personal apology during private conversations in Austin, Texas, a foundation spokeswoman said.
His interview with Oprah Winfrey is due to be aired on Thursday, January 17.
Lance Armstrong, 41, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the sport’s governing body last year. He has maintained his innocence.
“He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done the important work of the foundation for many years,” Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“It was a very sincere and heartfelt expression of regret over any stress that they’ve suffered over the course of the last few years as a result of the media attention,” she added.
Lance Armstrong, who also received a lifetime ban from governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), was reportedly close to tears.
It was not quite a confession of sustained cheating, but that is what many in the cycling world and across America are expecting to hear when they tune in to the cyclist’s interview on January 17.
The recording of the TV interview – his first since being stripped of his wins – started later on Monday.
Lance Armstrong has apologized to the staff at his Livestrong Foundation, amid reports that he may admit doping in a TV interview
A spokeswoman for the Oprah show said last week that Lance Armstrong was not being paid to appear and that Oprah Winfrey was free to ask him any question she wanted.
The choice of America’s favorite agony aunt to conduct the interview suggests that Lance Armstrong is prepared to make some kind of confession.
At the weekend, Lance Armstrong told the Associated Press: “I’m calm, I’m at ease and ready to speak candidly.”
He declined to go into further details.
Lance Armstrong ended his fight against doping charges in August 2012.
In October, USADA released a 1,000-page report saying he had been at the heart of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme” ever seen in sport.
Lance Armstrong also later resigned as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, the cancer charity he created.
His lawyer, Tim Herman, has described the USADA report as a “one-sided hatchet job” and the cyclist himself has accused the agency of offering “corrupt inducements” to other riders to speak out against him.
It is believed he is considering an admission because he wants to resume his athletic career, and has shown an interest in competing in triathlons.
Lance Armstrong has reportedly held recent discussions with other cyclists who have themselves confessed to doping.
But there are a number of obstacles to a full confession.
The New York Times has reported Lance Armstrong’s supporters are concerned he could face perjury charges if he confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs, because he made sworn testimony in a 2005 court case that he had never done so.
In addition, Lance Armstrong faces a number of legal cases.
US rider Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles will not be awarded to anyone else, the International Cycling Union has announced.
Lance Armstrong was stripped of his yellow jerseys by cycling’s governing body for doping on Monday.
“The management committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events,” said a UCI statement.
Lance Armstrong crossed the line first every year between 1999 and 2005.
The UCI has also ordered Lance Armstrong to pay back all his prize money from this period.
The statement added: “The committee decided to apply this ruling from now on to any competitive sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to 2005, without prejudice to the statute of limitation.
“The committee also called on Armstrong and all other affected riders to return the prize money they had received.”
Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles will not be awarded to anyone else, the UCI has announced
On Monday, the UCI ratified the decision of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour titles.
The UCI’s statement went on to add that there was “little honour to be gained” from reallocating the yellow jerseys from 1999 to 2005 to any other riders.
A USADA report called the American a “serial” cheat who led “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.
Lance Armstrong has kept quiet since USADA’s report was published earlier this month.
Eleven of Lance Armstrong’s former team-mates have told their stories of doping with the US Postal Service cycling team, but none in such detail as Tyler Hamilton.
Tyler Hamilton’s book, The Secret Race, published in September, provides minute detail on how the drugs were obtained, how they were stored, delivered to the riders and injected, and how the syringes were carried away in a Coke can.
Most astonishingly, Tyler Hamilton explains how easy it was to beat the testers.
Lance Armstrong has rejected Tyler Hamilton’s allegations, while his lawyer described the latest condemnation from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as a “one-sided hatchet job”.
Tyler Hamilton started off on testosterone, a “red egg” as the cyclists referred to the pill, but soon graduated on to the more powerful EPO – erythropoietin – which he and his US Postal Service team-mates dubbed Edgar, after Edgar Allen Poe.
This stimulates the creation of red blood cells, boosting performance by about 5%, or, as Tyler Hamilton puts it “roughly the difference between first place in the Tour de France and the middle of the pack”.
EPO can be detected in the body for a number of hours after it has been taken – the “glowtime”. During this time, the cyclist needs to avoid a meeting with the dope tester.
So, during the months of training, they kept track of when they had taken the drug, and tipped each other off by phone whenever a tester appeared in Girona, the town in northern Spain where the cyclists were based. In The Secret Race, co-authored by journalist Daniel Coyle, he lists three tips:
“Tip one: Wear a watch. Tip Two: Keep your cellphone handy. Tip three: Know your glowtime, how long you’ll test positive after you take the substance. What you’ll notice is that none of these things is particularly difficult to do.”
They were more like “discipline tests, IQ tests” than drug tests, he says.
“If you were careful and paid attention, you could dope and be 99% certain that you would not get caught.”
Tyler Hamilton’s book, The Secret Race was published in September and provides minute detail on doping
On one occasion Tyler Hamilton heard a knock on the door when he was glowing, and simply hid inside the house in silence until the tester gave up and went away.
They never came during the night, making late evening the best time for doping. One elderly tester even called in advance to let the cyclists know when he was coming.
USADA describes Lance Armstrong as the enforcer of US Postal’s “massive and pervasive” doping programme.
“It was not enough that his team-mates give maximum effort on the bike,” Wednesday’s USADA report on Armstrong says.
“He also required that they adhere to the doping programme outlined for them or be replaced.”
It wasn’t only US Postal that was doping, of course. More than half the Tour de France winners since 1980 have either tested positive, been sanctioned for doping, or admitted it.
Tyler Hamilton said this week that it was “a dark period of cycling that we all went through”.
“None of us when we were 15 or 16 years old were planning on doing that, but we all kind of rode our way up the ranks and came into this world. It was a world that already existed, when we got there. The doctors, the riders had been doing these things for years.”
George Hincapie, US Postal team captain from 1999-2005, admitted doping for the first time on Wednesday, saying that early in his professional career it became clear to him “that given the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them”.
Tyler Hamilton writes in The Secret Race that he visited Lance Armstrong at his home in Nice some time before the 1999 Tour de France, and finding himself without EPO, asked if he could use some of Armstrong’s.
“Lance pointed casually to the fridge. I opened it and there, on the door, next to a carton of milk, was a carton of EPO, each stoppered vial standing upright, little soldiers in their cardboard cells.”
In 1998, the team had distributed the EPO in white lunch bags. But this was the year the Festina and TVM teams were caught with large quantities of steroids, EPO and syringes. So in 1999 greater care was needed. According to Tyler Hamilton, Lance Armstrong arranged for his gardener to follow the Tour on a motorbike, carrying a thermos flask full of EPO tubes.
“When we needed <<Edgar>>, Philippe would zip through the Tour’s traffic and make a drop-off,” he writes in The Secret Race.
By the following year, they had begun blood doping, flying to Spain to have their blood drawn by the team doctor, Tyler Hamilton says.
This blood, rich in red blood cells, was then delivered back to the tired riders, to help boost their red blood cell count during the race.
Riders found blood bags, still cold from the refrigerator, taped to the wall next to their beds in their hotel rooms. Hamilton describes the sensation of goosebumps as the chilled blood circulated around his body.
One of the doctors used by US Postal, Michele Ferrari – nicknamed Doctor Death by reporters – found ways of helping to reduce the EPO glowtime by using small “microdoses” injected into the vein.
The cyclists could also drink large amounts of water, or inject themselves with saline solution, in order to accelerate the fading of the glow.
“They’ve got their doctors, and we’ve got ours, and ours are better,” writes Tyler Hamilton.
After Dr. Michele Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud by an Italian court in 2004, Lance Armstrong issued a statement, in which he said: “I have always said that I have zero tolerance for anyone convicted of using or facilitating the use of performance-enhancing drugs. As a result of today’s developments, the USPS team and I have suspended our professional affiliation with Dr. Ferrari.”
Lance Armstrong contests that he took 500 drug tests worldwide and never failed one. This is disputed. Tyler Hamilton says he failed tests, but managed to explain it away, or hush it up.
Tyler Hamilton himself kept a clear record for several years. He first tested positive just as he reached the peak of his career – a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics – when by mistake he was given another man’s blood.
Blood transfusions are potentially risky. Badly stored blood can poison an athlete when transfused. Tyler Hamilton never had this problem, but he did suffer from one botched transfusion, which left him urinating a fluid “dark, dark red, almost black”.